Eric Piedoie, a French master forger known as "the art pirate," has died after being mugged in Cannes over his luxury watch — which (like his own work) was a fake. French daily Le Parisien highlighted the irony, calling his death Sunday from heart failure after the attack "one last snub" from a man who spent his life copying other people's work.
Miro, Giacometti, Niki de Saint Phalle, Yves Klein, Toulouse-Lautrec, Chagall: Beginning in the 1980s Eric Piedoie made a (devilish) name for himself by masterfully forging and selling works by the world's greatest artists, deceiving gallery owners and specialists alike.
Local daily Nice-Matin estimates that this colorful dandy had earned between 15 and 20 million euros from his imitations — a fortune he is believed to have squandered, mostly by gambling. In 2009, Piedoie was sentenced to 4 years in prison for forgery, and had since given up his illicit forgery activity.